On May 29, 2012 the esteemed British Medical Journal published an article titled “Preventing Overdiagnosis: How To Stop Harming The Healthy“.
The opening paragraph of the article reads: Evidence is mounting that medicine is harming healthy people through ever earlier detection and ever wider definition of disease.
I wanted to share this with you because it’s my observation that a lot of women are going through a lot of disfiguring surgeries and treatments for things that may or may not turn into a problem later on.
Overdosed, Over-Treated, Over-Diagnosed
The BMJ article tells us that there is mounting evidence that too many people are being overdosed, over-treated and over-diagnosed. The article goes on to identify the phenomenon of over-medicalization, saying healthy people are increasingly harmed by a barrage of unnecessary tests, procedures and drugs.
The article was timed to promote a new international conference called Preventing Overdiagnosis, that will aim to better assess the problem and begin working on solutions. Not a moment too soon, I say.
Research Claims Over Half of Breast Cancers Would Amount To Nothing If Left Untreated
What concerns me the most is that academics from Australia and Canada have claimed that up to 54% of breast cancers detected in women in their 50s by breast cancer screening would never have manifested clinically. See this article published July 10, 2009 in the BMJ: Overdiagnosis in publicly organised mammography screening programmes: systematic review of incidence trends.
I don’t know about you, but if I were one of those 54%, I’d be pissed. Especially considering the long-term effects of some of the treatments.
Action You Can Take
So what can we do about this? The International Conference is set to take place on 10-12 September 2013, exactly one year from now. Here’s a link to their website. You can submit papers, sign up for updates and find out about attending the conference (to be held at The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice in Hanover, New Hampshire). You can also email any concerns to email@example.com.
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